Are all masses so stripped of beauty?

Hello all,

Several times a year I find myself attending a mass, in part stemming from a desire to connect my personal connection with catholic spirituality and teaching to a collective experience of worship, prayer, etc. Although I am not Catholic, I do feel a connection to the tradition and have a desire to move more deeply into the faith. The problem for me is the near visceral reaction I have to a mass that seems almost entirely stripped of beauty and mystery. It does not connect me to God. In fact, I have a difficult time making it through an entire mass without feeling so turned off by the awful, cheesy music and sterile atmosphere that I sometimes end up leaving early. I used to regularly attend 2-3 hour Russian Orthodox services, so it’s not an issue of stamina. Watching videos of the Latin rite makes me wonder what happened to the beauty of liturgy that reflected God’s beauty and mystery. Any ideas on how I should approach this?


Maybe you could find an EF Mass, or a Liturgy of one of the Eastern Catholic Churches. They are all beautiful, and they fulfill the obligation. :thumbsup:

To answer your question: No. Only the ones you’ve attended are.


Either attend an EF or find a parish whose pastor (like mine) celebrates the OF in the spirit that V11 envisioned…

They do exists and they both are beautiful…

So to answer your thread question of “are all masses so stripped of beauty?”…the answer is …(drumroll)

No, they are not… :smiley:

So, Pjhstala1, where do you live?

I expect we could find you a Mass in your area that wouldnt fall to the stereotyped experience you are expressing. :slight_smile:

(Pjhstala1, I sent you a PM. Let me know if I can help you find a beautiful Mass in your area. I dare say you have fallen victim to the a stereotype, and I would love to help you get on the other side of that stereotype! Just let me know. :slight_smile: God Bless!! )

I’ve found it depends on the church and the mass. Sunday mass is generally going to be more “exciting” than a weeknight mass. I’ve found too that if you do the daily readings and reflect on them before the mass, it makes it much more enriching and interactive than simply showing up.

Really hate to hear that you are having this experience. I live in Atlanta so there are many Catholic Churches around. I shopped quite a bit. While I liked most of them, some of them were a little dry as you would expect. I am grateful for the different flavors, so to speak.

I love the Church I am at know. I LOVE the clergy, the building is nice, but I really dig the parish! Nicest people I have ever met in a Church! I never experienced adoration before then. It was UNREAL!

I came in to the chapel on the wrong night for weekday mass. There was the Eucharist in the special Crucifix made for adoration. I could feel the presence of Christ all around the alter. It was awe inspiring. This is something I never experienced in any other Church. This was during conversion, so I had been asking God for confirmation that I was making the right move, even though it already felt right.

If you keep looking, you will find the right place.

This. Once you experience that you will probably want to stay. Good luck!

Often when attending a modern mass with its sterile feel and terrible hymns sung out of tune and rather reluctantly by a tone deaf congregation, I am thankful that only Christ has ears. However this pharisaic view from the front of the temple is quashed by my understanding of the glory of the eucharist and, like a child in wonder, I recognise the delight in Our Lord’s recognition of the gurgles of a baby as he searches for his Father’s arms. He welcomes our mediocrity as he plays with the mud of His creation. Don’t decry our worship as Christ has glorified it in His own majesty.
A full sung High Mass can raise the hair on the back of your neck in awe if you open yourself to it.But it is no more to the ears of God as the weakest whimpers of a returning sinner at a Sunday mass in the suburbs.

Blessed Fulton J. Sheen


Hence the Mass is to us the crowning act of Christian worship. A pulpit in which the words of our Lord are repeated does not unite us to Him; a choir in which sweet sentiments are sung brings us no closer to His Cross than to His garments. A temple without an altar of sacrifice is non-existent among primitive peoples, and is meaningless among Christians. And so in the Catholic Church the , and not the pulpit or the choir or the organ, is the center of worship, for there is re-enacted the memorial of His
Passion. Its value does not depend on him who says it, or on him who hears it; it depends on Him who is the One High Priest and Victim, Jesus Christ our Lord. With Him we are united, in spite of our nothingness; in a certain sense, we lose our individuality for the time being; we unite our intellect and our will, our heart and our soul, our body and our blood, so intimately with Christ, that the Heavenly Father sees not so much us with our imperfection, but rather sees us , the Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. The Mass is for that reason the greatest event in the history of mankind; the only Holy Act which keeps the wrath of God from a sinful world, because it holds the Cross between heaven and earth, thus renewing that decisive moment when our sad and tragic humanity journeyed suddenly forth to the fullness of supernatural life.


Are you Catholic? That is were you baptised Catholic? If so, you need to go to Mass every week. Certainly you can go to any parish in your area that is approved by the Bishop. You will likely find a Mass that suits you better, since the music can vary quite a bit and priests also vary in their liturgical “style.”

However, whatever the style, as a Catholic, you should be there every week.

S/he specifically says s/he’s not Catholic. In our diocese it’s (sadly) hit and miss. For instance, I can go to my parish and experience purely grotesque music and occasional lack of reverence. I can go to my old parish and experience great reverence and sacred music. It depends on the pastor and culture of the parish and diocese.

I’ve visited Charlotte, NC a number of times, different parishes and always found consistent excellence. But here you never know what you’ll get.

If we do not see the beauty in every Mass we attend the problem is within ourselves.

Nobody brave enough to raise the possibility that this perceived lack of beauty of any given mass is not just the spiritual disposition of the poster at the particular time they feel the mass is flat? We all go through period of spiritual dryness.

Another possibility is, despite the posters love of the pageantry history, tradition and pomp and ceremony of the mass, the poster’s expectation falls flat because they have not had enough catechesis to understand the mass, thus not allowing them to understand the real beauty of the sacred liturgy no matter what form it celebrated in.

I take it as a “Have you stopped beating your wife?” question.

The parish I go to with my wife and children doesn’t have the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, but it is orthodox (small ‘o’) and traditional in architecture. It has an altar rail for receiving holy communion. Every Mass is presented very beautifully, the priest is humble, the homilies are great, and the choir sounds so good that sometimes I wonder if angels are up there singing with them. The female cantor sounds like she could be one of the Celtic Woman singers.

Hello all,

First, thanks so much for all of your replies. Second, after re-reading my post I see that what I wrote could easily be taken as an arrogant jab, or at least reflect a complete lack of sensitivity. My apologies. I think I’m writing, in part, out of frustration and desire for that corporate worship that does reflect the beauty of the lives of the saints, Catholic teaching, etc.- that’s all. Many surely find that in every mass, but I suppose I don’t have the eyes or ears for that yet. Maybe someday! I have attended a local Ukrainian Catholic church (being of slavic descent, the familiarity is quite nice), and found it beautiful. My best bet is most likely to keep attending, but it’s been the western tradition- the saints, tenor, focus, etc. that has drawn me to the Catholic Church in some way, so I’ve been trying to find that in the western mass. Maybe the best thing I can do is continue with the eastern rite church.

Thanks for all your replies.



Right, but for those of us who have yet to attain that beatific vision, there’s still the realm of aesthetics that, while subjective, exist.

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